I hate when analysis gets boiled down to someone saying that a team won because they "wanted it more" but it's hard to find another explanation for last night's game. I also hate it when games boil down to one team having more healthy bodies than the other, but again, that's what we had to deal with last night. The good news is that last night was just a preseason game, so there's no point in crying over spoiled milk that doesn't count toward the final standings, but boy, I could go with less games that remind me of last season.
I know Gilbert Arenas and Mike Miller were both in their hotel rooms sick, but that didn't mean that the rest of the team didn't have to show up. The Wizards were understandably shorthanded without their starting backcourt and with Antawn Jamison sitting at the end of the bench and wearing a suede brown sport coat. But the team was out of this game before the start of the second period. It was mostly an eyesore the rest of the way, as the Hawks led by as many as 25.
Make no mistake, there are lots of reasons for continued optimism, but this team still has its work cut out. Hey at least the Wizards have Flip Saunders as their coach and not Jim Zorn. After the game, Saunders said, "The thing that was disappointing. I thought this was a good opportunity for some guys to step up and say, ‘Here’s what I can do.’ And no one, I don’t think anyone really did that." Zorn would have said something like, "This was a growing game … let’s stay medium. Hip-hip hooray!"
Coming off the bench, Nick Young turned in an offensive performance that makes this Wizards fan hopeful about the teams second unit going into the season. Young scored 15 points on five of eleven shooting while burying two out of three three-pointers. Also coming off the bench was veteran point guard Mike James. James had yet to see many minutes this preseason as the return of Gilbert Arenas and the acquisition of Foye. James took advantage of the opportunity. The point guard added six points and eight assists in 24 minutes Monday night.
The Hawks didn’t just run circles around the Wizards Monday night. They ran them ragged. So much so that Wizards coach Flip Saunders polished off the night like this: "I hope our guys worked on their conditioning, because from the standpoint of our game plan, we didn’t execute anything tonight. What i thought was disappointing was that this was an opportunity for some of our guys to step up, but no one really did that. We have to do all of the little things offensively and defensively to stay in the game. We definitely won’t be able to play this team this way in the regular season."
Nick Young makes one appreciate Jamal Crawford's relative versatility as a basketball player and restraint as a shooter.
Jeff Teague continued his good impression from the radio to reality. He took multiple bad shots. Shots that were far beyond rookie heaves He made a couple of passes that were questionable. But the rest of the time, he made other 19th picks of the last couple years look silly. He may not be a top five draft pick contributor, but I struggle to see how he does not have that talent. On the other hand, anyone that expects such is totally, straight against the wall crazy.
Butler said that Jordan and the Wizards had a great opportunity for a deep playoff run when they had the best record in the Eastern Conference for the first half of the 2006-07 season. The Wizards' season collapsed when Butler broke his hand and Arenas injured his left knee. That season, the team finished 41-41 and got swept out of the first round. "That would've been our most successful year with him as the coach, but unfortunately, it didn't work out like that, and that's just the luck of the draw," Butler said. "I know he's going to have a lot of success in Philly; and seeing what I'm seeing in practice and the disposition of the players, I know we're going to have a better year here. I wish him the best and obviously I know he wishes the same for me. We're just anxious to get started in our new journeys."
Okay, we forgive Wizards superstar Gilbert Arenas for quitting his addictive blog: He's just too busy being a dad. "Gilbert takes the night shift," said his fiancee Laura Govan. "He's so diligent when he's home -- takes the kids to school in the morning, picks them up after practice, changes diapers. He's amazing."
Best of Twitterville
Twitter / SEAN K.
The hawks are killing the wizards right now. Its like 3000 to 6
Twitter / Truth_About_It
Glenn Consor: "It's nice to see Mike James make a runner."
Twitter / Truth_About_It
Yea, stopped listening/keeping track of the Wizards preseason game a long time ago. Wiz down 94-73 to ATL with 8:37 to go.
Twitter / Michael Lee
Poor Vince Grier. Mike James tried 2 give him his first shot of the preseason, but Teague kicked the ball out of bounds with 0.4 secs left
Twitter / Arthur Triche
@MrMichaelLee C'mon Wizards, at least make it interesting...
Twitter / Michael Lee
At least somebody is into this game for Washington. Flip just got a T. When Mo Evans missed the tech, Flip said, "Ball don't lie."
Twitter / JaVale McGee
Wow Taylor swift sold ten million albums...is that going diamond?